Scorpion Canyon

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Scorpion Canyon Canyoneering Canyoning Caving
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Scorpion Canyon Banner.jpg

Difficulty:3A II (v3a1 II)
Raps:‌8, max ↨180ft
Overall:3-6h ⟷4.6mi
Approach: ↑800ft
Descent: ⟷1.7mi ↓1365ft
Red Tape:No permit required
Shuttle:Required 20 min
Condition Reports:
29 Oct 2023

"Most anchors were still standing (yay for Cressman Mongo anchors!) and only needed to be dug out and webbing replaced. One or two anchors had to be re

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Best season:
Nov-Mar (avg for this region)


This is an excellent introductory Death Valley canyon and one of the most accessible.

Just 20 minute shuttle, just 5h in length, colorful rocks and nice rappels, this canyon has it all.


Park exit vehicles at Desolation Canyon trailhead. From junction of CA-190 and Badwater Road, drive 3.7 miles south to unmarked dirt road. 1/2 mile on dirt road (passable to all vehicles) to parking area.

Drive to approach: Badwater Road north to CA-190, east to Twenty Mule Team Road (signed, one-way dirt road is passable to all vehicles). Drive 1.7 miles to wide parking pullout on right. The berm in front of pullout can be a challenge for low cars. If Twenty Mule Team Canyon Road is closed, park at the road exit. (One group attempted to avoid the car shuttle by hiking up Desolation Canyon but were turned back by a steep rotten headwall.)

From parking area, backtrack on the road about 100 feet and go up the wash. The wash will narrow substantially, then make a 90-degree right turn and open up again. Just after the first easy up-climb, take the first junction to the left. There will be one up-climb section with loose gravel on slopes that a helmet is recommended on. The route will open up again and you will be close to green headwall. Follow most obvious wash up to a saddle.

The wash on the other side of the saddle leads directly to Scorpion Canyon.


Waypoints in the KML map contain detailed descriptions of all the rappels (courtesy of

Rappel 1: 135' Multi-stage.

Rappel 2: 35' cairn

Rappel 3: 105'

Rappel 4: 150' Short free-hang section near the end. Anchored off a rock about 20 feet back from the rappel with a knot chock and cairn anchor back-up closer to the edge. A triple redundant web of tat.

Rappel 4 Alternative: 180' two stage with a 70 foot free hang section at the end. At the split just before rap 3 turn right. This right split joins the left side down canyon. The anchor is a well placed single sling around a large rock. There are several other large boulders anchor solutions in the area. One caveat; at the edge of the lip of the second stage is a crack that could catch a rope on pull. With a longer rope and pull cord it is possible to move across canyon at the base of the rappel to keep the rope and pull cord out of the crack.

Rappel 5: 25'

Rappel 6: 50' (Anchored 15' back with a 35' drop)

Rappel 7: 70'

Rappel 8: 60'


Easy stroll south to Desolation Canyon parking lot.

Red tape

Beta sites

Trip reports and media


another trip 2-15-15- with attempted hike-up option:

Another Bogley Trip report



Information provided by automated processes. KML map by (unknown). Main photo by (unknown). Authors are listed in chronological order.

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